Will Bardo has thrown for 425 yards and 5 TD's in the last two games.
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The University of Dayton football team will finish out the 2011 season Saturday, when the Flyers travel to Des Moines, Iowa to match up against the Drake Bulldogs. Game time is 2:00 p.m. ET.
UD will be facing an unfamiliar situation at Drake...playing the role of spoiler. In the first three seasons under head coach Rick Chamberlin, Dayton has gone into the last game of the year playing for the Pioneer Football League championship, winning the last two.
This game, it will be the Bulldogs sniffing after a title. Drake is currently 6-1 in the PFL (8-2 overall). A win on Saturday will clinch at least a share of the league championship. The Flyers are 6-4 overall, and 4-3 in the PFL. The three losses are by a combined 13 points.
Saturday will also be the final game for UD offensive coordinator Dave Whilding, who announced his retirement Wednesday. Whilding, who is completing his 35th year at UD, has spent the last 31 years coaching UD’s quarterbacks and the last 29 serving as offensive coordinator.
He inherited a school-record games-without-being shutout streak that began in 1976, and extended it to its current 396 games, the longest active streak in college football and the longest-ever in FCS football.
GOOD NEWS WORTH REPEATING
The Flyers entered the 2011 season with the second- best winning percentage (.792, 97-24) in FCS football since 2000 AND the most football Academic All-Americans (21) at any level of competition in this century.
Dayton leads the series 23-4 and has won the last four encounters. Last year, the Flyers won 31-25 in Dayton on Nov. 6. on a 37-yard strike from Steve Valentino to Luke Bellman with one second left. UD and DU have met for 24 straight seasons.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Drake has won three straight and nine straight at home. The Bulldogs lead the PFL in rushing defense (73.5) and scoring defense (18.2), and are fourth and 11th in FCS football respectively.
Running back Patrick Cashmore was PFL co-Player of the Week after running for a career-high 160 yards and two TD’s against Jacksonville. Kicker Billy Janssen was the PFL Special Teams Player of the Week.
Quarterback Mike Piatowski has thrown eight touchdowns in the last three games.
Defensive end Brandon Coleman leads Drake in sacks. (11).
UD has not been shut out in a school-record 396 straight games, the best such active string in all of college football. The last team to shut out the Flyers was Marshall, 9-0, on Oct. 16, 1976. That is also the all-time FCS record.
THE MAN AT THE TOP
Head coach Rick Chamberlin guided UD to 28 wins in his first three seasons, going 9-3 in 2008, 9-2 in 2009 and 10-1 last year. That’s the best three-year start by any Flyer football coach. Dayton has won a share of PFL championships in two of his three years, and missed the third by just five points at JU in the last game of 2008.
MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE
Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 328 of UD’s 628 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 34 as a head coach. He has also been a part of 416 of UD’s 1,001 games.
Rick Chamberlin’s career .773 (34-10) winning percentage is the best among PFL coaches. Drake’s Chris Creighton is next (.766, 124-38). In PFL games only, Chamberlin is #1 (.806, 25-6) and Jacksonville coach Kerwin Bell is second (.744, 29-10).
LEADING FROM THE FRONT
You will find the Flyer 2011 captains in the trenches. DE Devon Langhorst and OT Dan Prindle are UD’s co-captains this season. Both are redshirt seniors and part of three PFL title teams in their careers.
LONG TIME STARTERS
Nine Flyers own double-digit start totals. Justin Griffis leads with 32 (although 22 were at center and he is now a guard). Right behind is Dan Prindle with 31. Devon Langhorst and Matt Pfleger each have 21. Tyler Hujik and Eric Robbe all have 20. Brian Mack and Kyle Sebetic have 18, and Zach Weber has 17.
FIRST TIME QB
Redshirt freshman Will Bardo took over at quarterback for Dayton at Robert Morris, following two-time PFL Offensive Player of the Year Steve Valentino. That was the first game that Bardo played in (that counts, at least) since his Ft. Thomas Highlands High School won the 2009 Kentucky 5A Championship. In his debut, Bardo was 14 of 24 for 180 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. A dual threat, he is the only PFL quarterback with at least 400 rushing yards this season (491) and is 10th in the league in rushing. He has thrown for career-highs in yardage in each of the last two weeks. At Valparaiso, Bardo was 15 of 22 passing for 200 yards and two TD’s, along with running for 58 yards and a TD. He was PFL co-Offensive Player of the Week. Against San Diego, he was 20 of 40 for 225 yards and three TD’s.
NOT HIS FIRST RODEO
Having an inexperienced quarterback step into the starting lineup is nothing new for Dayton offensive coordinator Dave Whilding. Of the 17 new starting quarterbacks in Whilding’s 31 years of coaching the position, 11 took over with less than 20 career passes to their credit (including Steve Valentino and two QB’s now in the UD Hall of Fame – Kevin Johns and Steve Keller). Three (Kevin Wilhelm, Kelly Spiker and Brandon Staley) had the same number as new QB Will Bardo -- zero. Whilding announced this week he is retiring after the Drake game.
OUT OF THE BULLPEN
Backup QB Zach Splain has played in all 10 games. Against Marist, Splain came off the bench and guided UD to four scoring drives in the next five possessions. He was 11 of 18 for 161 yards and two TD’s.
Dayton is third in FCS football in sacks, averaging 3.8 sacks a game. UD had nine sacks (and seven QB hurries) in the Davidson win, and eight sacks at Robert Morris. Eleven different Flyers have gotten into the sack act in 2011, led by Devon Langhorst’s 11.5. UD also has 23 QB hurries, led by eight from Langhorst.
Defensive end Devon Langhorst was a member of the 2010 Associated Press Championship Subdivision All-American Third Team and was First Team All-PFL. He was second nationally in sacks with 14 and was second on the team in tackles with 77. For the 2011 season, he leads UD in total tackles (75), sacks (11.5), TFL (16) and QB hurries (8). He is currently sixth in sacks at the FCS level.
LANGHORST A CAMPBELL TROPHY SEMIFINALIST
Devon Langhorst was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy, which is the major award of the NFF’s Scholar-Athlete Award program. Langhorst is one of just 127 college football players selected. UD has had at least a semifinalist for six straight years. Among Division I schools, the Flyers are one of 12 institutions with a semifinalist in the last six years. The others are Austin Peay, Bucknell, Columbia, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Rutgers, South Dakota State, Texas, Wisconsin and Youngstown State.
Devon Langhorst played quarterback on offense at Sidney High School, but now he collects them, with 25.5 in the last two seasons. He is one of two players to have two listings in the UD Top Ten in single-season sacks. Robert Christy (32 for his career) is the other.
Safety Steve Wirkus will miss his third game of the year at Drake. He is tied for eighth nationally in FCS football in interceptions (0.5 per game). He was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week after getting two interceptions, two pass break ups and six tackles (4 solo) in the Marist win. Against Robert Morris in Week One, he was CollegeSportsMadness.com’s PFL Player of the Week after leading UD with nine tackles (7 solo), getting the interception that set up Dayton’s go-ahead touchdown and diving to bat away a pass at the goal line. He is third at UD in tackles (54) and leads in solo hits (37) in 2010. He added another INT and shared team honors with eight hits vs. Duquesne. After suffering an ankle injury in the Butler game, he missed two games. He returned for Morehead State, coming up with 10 tackles (8 solo) in the win.
Linebacker Colin Monnier is second on the team in tackles (573). Monnier also has 8.0 TFL, two interceptions, two passes broken up and two sacks. Bailin has an interception.
DEAL WITH DUNN
Redshirt sophomore DT Brannon Dunn is second on the team and fifth in the PFL in sacks (8) despite only starting six games this season. He had a defensive lineman’s “helmet trick” at Jacksonville, getting a sack, forcing a fumble and recovering the fumble on the same play. Dunn also is tied for team honors in forced fumbles (3, tied with Kevin Kern).
GOOD HANDS PEOPLE
Four Flyer receivers have combined for 102 of UD’s 127 receptions this season (80%). Luke Bellman leads in catches (37), yardage (485) and TD’s (4), and is second in yards per catch (13.1). He had six for 121 in the Marist win. Branden Johnson has 24 and leads in yards per catch average (15.8), Tyler Hujik has 22 receptions for 122 yards, and Jordan Boykin has 19 for 215 yards (11.3 avg.). Johnson had five for 100 at Jacksonville.
BEEN A WHILE
With one game left on the schedule, Taylor Harris’ 899 yards this season is the most since Cliff Sachini had 1,042 in 2003. Harris has four games of at least 100 yards rushing this season (110 yards against Duquesne, 101 at Central State, 148 at Jacksonville, 216 at Morehead State). Sachini is the last Flyer runner to have at least four 100-yard games in a season. Sachini had five in 2003. Harris leads UD in rushing and yards per carry (6.9). He has scored five more TD’s than any other UD player (9). He was second in the PFL in scoring last year with 13 touchdowns. This year he is first in the PFL in per carry average, second in rushing (89.9) and tied for sixth in touchdowns. He will miss the Drake trip with an injury.
When Taylor Harris ran for 216 yards at Morehead State, it was the most yards by a Dayton runner since Jermaine Bailey ran for 251 against Drake in 2000. It was also the first time any PFL runner gained 200 since Jacksonville’s Rudell Small had 216 in 2008. Harris also went over 1,000 yards for his career during the Morehead game. Harris was named a BSN Offensive Player of the Week for his game at MSU.
TEAR UP THE TURF, TAYLOR
Taylor Harris’ 83-yard touchdown run against Duquesne was the third-longest in Dayton history, and the longest at Welcome Stadium. Leroy Ka-Ne (the Hawai’ian Hyphen) holds the record of 94 yards vs. Scranton in 1949 at Baujan Field, and J.P. Ragon scampered 85 yards at Morehead State in 1997.
UD returned its entire stable of top running backs from 2010 -- seniors Taylor Harris, Dan Jacob and Brian Mack. They combined for 946 yards and 22 TD’s between them last year with a 4.7 yards per carry average.
SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
Sophomore Gary Hunter led the PFL and was ranked eighth in FCS football in kickoff return average as a freshman in 2010. Hunter averaged 28.2 yards a return. He had what is believed to be the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a freshman in the history of University of Dayton football when he had an 82-yard scamper against Valparaiso. Early records are incomplete, but no Flyer freshman has returned a kickoff for a TD in the modern era of UD football. After playing corner last year, Hunter has moved to the offensive side of the ball and is a wide receiver. At Valparaiso, he got his second career TD return with an 88-yarder to open the second half. He was named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week. He is third in the PFL in kick return average (22.9). Hunter is the first Flyer to have two career kickoff returns for a touchdown since Kelvin Kirk (the original Mr. Irrelevant) had three from 1974-77.
Dayton’s game with Davidson had a rare event occur, or rather not occur. Davidson never kicked off in the game. UD won the toss and chose the wind, DC took the ball in the second half and was shutout.
HEAD’S UP HUJIK
Senior wide receiver Tyler Hujik was named FCS Co-Punt Returner of the Week by collegefootballperformance.com for his touchdown at Morehead. Hujik scored UD’s only TD in the first half when he scooped up a punt that had been touched but not controlled. Hujik darted between two players to scoop it up and run 32 yards for a touchdown.
Senior Nate Miller was named the Pioneer Football League’s Special Teams Player of the Week after the MSU win. Miller accounted for 12 of the 30 Flyer points in the win, making field goals of 23, 26 and 32 yards, and converting all three PAT’s he attempted. He also averaged 38.8 yards a punt on five punts, placing three inside the 20-yard line and on fair catch. Miller’s 11 field goals this season are tied for second in the PFL this season, and his 22 punts inside the 20-yard line are seven more than anyone else in the league. He leads UD in scoring (63 pts) and averages 36.7 yards per punt.
DOING GOOD WORK
Redshirt senior offensive tackle Dan Prindle was a member of the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Honorees were selected based on their contributions to their community and campus. Prindle has volunteered at Children’s Medical Center, St. Vincent DePaul and the Bombeck Center on campus. In addition, he was a part of Christmas on Campus, YMCA Summer Camp and has also helped with the Special Olympics. This summer he was a camp counselor at UD’s engineering camp for gifted students. He is also an executive officer of Dayton’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has served as a representative at the NCAA’s APPLE Conference which concentrates on improving substance abuse prevention programming and policies in athletics departments. Prindle was UD’s Offensive Player of the Week in the Marist win.
Seven current members of the Flyer football team have had relatives who also played for UD, including four players whose fathers played -- Austen Alber (Tim, 1986-88), Alex Johnston (Jim, 1973-75), Matt Dorenkott (Brian, 1976-78) and Kyle Pignatiello (Mike, 1980-82).
The Flyers became the 11th NCAA FCS team (and the first west of the Alleghenies) to win at least 600 games in its football history when UD beat Davidson on October 18, 2008. Here are the 14 members of the club, heading into the 2011 season. Yale (864), Penn (813), Harvard (812), Princeton (785), Fordham (748), Dartmouth (651), Lafayette (650), Delaware (649), Lehigh (639), Dayton (622), Cornell (620), North Dakota State (613), Northern Iowa (610), North Dakota (604) and Colgate (603). Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (103, nine fewer than Northern Iowa’s 112). UD moved into the Top 10 in 2010.
The Flyers’ 79-22 PFL record is the best in the history of the league. UD has won 11 league championships (including ties) in the 18 years the PFL has existed. The rest of the league has 13 combined.
COMPLETIONS FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS CHARITY INITIATIVE
After picking up “Loose Change” for Catholic Social Services in 2008, scoring “Touchdowns for Tots” in 2009, and taking down “Sacks For Groceries” in 2010, the University of Dayton has a new charity of choice this season. It is “Completions For Cystic Fibrosis.” For every pass completion during the 2011 season, PNC Bank will make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
For the fifth straight year, the Flyers sponsored “Tuesday Night Lights,” the free program where pee wee football teams take the field for a practice with the University of Dayton football team. Every Tuesday from Sept. 6 to Oct. 25, teams that signed up in advance got a pre-practice talk from Flyer head coach Rick Chamberlin, take the field to warm up with the UD football team, and observe practice.
The UD Flyers moved to Welcome Stadium in 1974. The word “Welcome” implies hospitality, but UD has been anything but hospitable to its opponents at home, where it is 201-43-2 (.821). The “Welcome” is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime AD for the Dayton Public Schools.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
Three times: Taylor Harris; Twice: Gary Hunter, Devon Langhorst, Colin Monnier, Bill Petraiuolo, Eric Robbe, Tyler Shutz, Steve Wirkus; Once: Will Bardo, Bryan Bailin, Luke Bellman, Tom Corcoran, Pat Dowd, Brannon Dunn, Owen Elger, Joe Janasek, Nate Miller, Dennis Poelking, Dan Prindle, Chase Walton, Ben Welsh
SCOUTS OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
Four times: Anthony Davis, Twice: Ryan Aske, Kevin Cripe, Dylan Dearwester, Ross Smith, Tommy Zervas; Once: Austen Alber, Jack Beebe, Joe Blume, Logan Bonifas, Miles Clark, Trey Cole, Grant Georgic, Brian Horansky, Connor Kacsor, Soern Osborne, Devon Morgan, Tim Pallay, Jake Rumpke, Mitch Sanders, Mitch Yinger
SEEING THE FUTURE
Freshman running back Anthony Davis has already earned four Scout Team Player of the Week awards, and the week of the Jacksonville game he did something unprecedented -- he was both the Offensive and Special Teams Scout of the Week. Davis was the Indiana high school rushing yardage leader last year for Indianapolis Warren Central High School.
LAST TIME OUT--SAN DIEGO 31, DAYTON 28
Dayton scored 28 unanswered points to overcome a 24-0 halftime deficit but a late San Diego touchdown gave the Toreros a 31-28 win at Welcome Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Bardo connected with fellow redshirt freshman Branden Johnson for a 36-yard touchdown pass to give the Flyers a 28-24 lead late in the fourth quarter – capping off a 10-play, 94-yard drive.
But with 47 seconds remaining, San Diego completed a 61-yard drive as Kenny James rushed for a two-yard touchdown which gave San Diego the 31-28 go-ahead lead. James led all rushers with 28 carriers for 184 yards.
Bardo finished 20-for-40 with 225 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Ft. Thomas, Ky., native also had 17 rushes for 47 net yards.
At the half San Diego led 24-0.
A 79-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter that lasted five minutes and 33 seconds turned the Flyers fortune by lighting up the scoreboard for the first time.
Bardo completed the drive by throwing his first of three touchdown passes to Luke Bellman for 26 yards. Bellman finished with eight receptions for 86 yards.
On the ensuing San Diego drive UD’s Mason Mills intercepted a pass from Matt Pfleger deep in Dayton territory at the UD six yard line. The Flyers turned around and scored on another lengthy drive of 15 plays lasting 6 minutes and 32 seconds. Bardo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Elmore for the score and put Dayton within 10 at 24-14 after the PAT.
It took just one play for Dayton to score on its next drive as Brian Mack rushed for 35 yards to put Dayton within three, 24-21. It was Mack’s longest run of the season as he replaced banged-up starter Taylor Harris during the game.
Saturday’s crowd to witness Senior Day at Welcome Stadium was a season-high 4,580.
Any list of the best coaches in college football history has to include the University of Dayton’s Mike Kelly. And now it does.
Kelly was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame July 16 at the 2011 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in South Bend, Ind.
Kelly’s 27-year record of 246-54-1 is the best by far at UD (nearly twice as many wins as fellow NFF Hall of Fame member Harry Baujan’s 124), and his .819 winning percentage is fourth-best among college coaches with 25 or more years experience.
Kelly was a seven-time national coach of the year, six-time PFL coach of the year, and guided his teams to three national championships (1989, 2002, 2007). Forty-eight of UD’s 50 Academic All-Americans played for Kelly, as did a total of 84 First Team All-Americans. Seventy of his former players went into coaching, including 16 in college.
The Mike Kelly Coaching Endowment Fund was established this summer with a $1 million commitment from the family of a UD football alumnus.
When Jon Gruden coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl championship in 2003, he became the second UD grad to coach a Super Bowl winner. Former UD co-captain and 1993 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Noll won four Super Bowls (IX, X, XII & XIV) as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Noll started at center and linebacker for the Flyers and graduated from the University in 1953. Gruden played quarterback at Dayton and earned his degree in 1986. UD became only the third school (now there are four) to have two alumni coach Super Bowl winners. The others are San Jose State, with grads Bill Walsh (XIV, XIX, XXIII) and Dick Vermeil (XXXIV), Arkansas with grads Jimmy Johnson (XXVII, XXVIII) and Barry Switzer (XXX), and Eastern Illinois with Mike Shanahan (XXXII, XXXIII) and Sean Payton (XLIV).
At the time of their wins, Gruden was the second-youngest coach to win a Super Bowl and Noll is the fifth-youngest. As a matter of fact, UD has ties to 19 Super Bowl rings. In addition to Noll’s four and Gruden’s one, six former members of Dayton coaching staffs own a total of 14 Super Bowl rings between them. They are the late Len Fontes (New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI), Jon’s father Jim Gruden (San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowls XXII & XXIV), current Saints QB coach Joe Lombardi (XLIV), John McVay (49ers, XVI, XIX, XXII, & XXIV), current Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore (Steelers, XIII & XIV, Colts XLI) and George Perles (Steelers, IX, X, XII & XIV). McVay was the Flyers’ head coach from 1965-72, and Fontes, Jim Gruden, Moore and Perles were on his staff. Lombardi, an Air Force Academy grad and the grandson of Vince Lombardi, began his coaching career at Dayton. He coached for three seasons on Mike Kelly’s staff while stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.